Who will win the 2011 Tour de France? Well after only 8 stages it’s a bit too soon to tell. But, it’s very likely that winner will be a multi-specialist.
A multi-specialist? Yep, a cyclist who can perform consistently near the front of the field for the flat stages, the hill stages, the sprint stages, the time trial stages, in the wet, in the dry, in the wind and under pressure. All around skill as a professional cyclist is what generally wins le tour.
The same applies for business leaders, especially CEO’s. We, too, need to be multi-specialists. We need to understand all aspects of our businesses. Operations, marketing, sales, people, finances, technology and every other department. Performing consistently across all these areas on the good days and the tough days is the CEO’s responsibility.
In the tour, the multi-specialist leaders have team mates to protect them from the wind, the road furniture and break away attacks from other teams. In business, the CEO has managers to help run the marketing, finance and technology departments.
Cycling teams and executive teams both need great people with complementary skills. The leader however, needs to have the capacity to be a multi-specialist.